Principles of Accreditation
Purpose of Accreditation
The purpose of voluntary accreditation is three-fold:
- to promote excellence in the preparation of graduates to
enter the professional practice of speech-language pathology
and audiology through the development and implementation of
standards of educational quality;
- to protect and inform the public by recognizing programs
that meet or exceed the educational standards; and
- to encourage graduate programs to monitor and enhance the
efficacy of their educational activities by means of continuous
self-study and improvement.
Scope of Accreditation
Accreditation should be limited to those graduate educational
programs that prepare persons for entry into professional
Any mechanisms designed to enhance other educational programs
(e.g., undergraduate and research doctoral programs) should be
established separately from the accreditation process. Program
guidelines and consultative services are examples of such
If, in the future, programs are established in institutions of
postsecondary education to prepare supportive personnel in
audiology and/or speech-language pathology, the need to accredit
such programs should be considered.
Accrediting Responsibility and Structure
It is the mutual responsibility of professional practitioners and
educators to determine the knowledge and skills needed by
practitioners. Educational policies that define how such
knowledge and skills are to be developed must be determined by
the academic community.
The accrediting body for academic programs should be
operationally independent from the political process and control
of sponsoring organizations.
An accrediting body is considered to have operational
independence if it has sole authority to establish and change
accreditation standards, policies, and procedures and to make
objective decisions on accreditation status of educational
programs without obtaining approval of any sponsoring or related
The establishment and implementation of standards should be the
combined responsibility of a single accrediting body.
Although audiology and speech-language pathology are separate
professions, they share a common interest in the scientific
principles of human communication. Therefore, accreditation
should be carried out by a single body, but one that accommodates
the different educational needs of the two professions.
Although professional practitioners and the public should be
represented on the accrediting body, majority representation
should come from the academic community.
The establishment and implementation of standards for educational
accreditation should be structurally and functionally independent
of practitioner certification and service-program accreditation.
Communication and collaboration among these standards programs is
essential, however, to ensure that their general policies and
future directions are coordinated.
Because accreditation standards should be written in terms of
educational processes and goals; they should not incorporate
specific certification requirements. Although certification
standards may require that persons be prepared in accredited
programs, the accreditation process should not be used to enforce
The accreditation body should have the authority and
responsibility for developing and managing its operational
Since the benefits of accreditation accrue to all members of the
professions, as well as to accredited programs, their students
and the public at large, financial support for an accreditation
program should be derived from accredited programs and those
seeking accreditation and from the professions of speech-language
pathology and audiology as a whole.
General Nature of Accreditation Standards
Consistent with the public protection responsibility of
accreditation, standards should recognize institutional diversity
and encourage academic experimentation and innovation. Programs
should be encouraged to develop appropriate goals and curricula
that are relevant to their strengths and experience and should
then be evaluated according to how well they meet their
Standards should be primarily qualitative in nature. Evaluation
should emphasize outcomes of the educational process.
Standards should promote the integration of clinical practice and
research through the application of scientific principles and
Standards should be neither prescriptive nor restrictive. Rather,
they should be flexible, encouraging reflection and capacity for
Standards should recognize that some programs may require direct
and more traditional guidelines and standards, while other
programs may be encouraged to be more innovative and